In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

RestorationStephen Wilson

You must have escaped in a hurry
dropping so many little intimacies
from our lives – thermal vests, long johns,
a lace camisole, a black bow-tie,
a packet of Tampax on the floor beside
the bed, my old tennis-shoes
(were your backs done in too?).

I picture your arrival, through the rockery,
sinking your feet into heather,
shrugging off rhododendron branches,
strands of honeysuckle; prising
open the sash with an iron bar,
your bodies folded like contortionists
among slivers of glass and wood.

Surgeons in a slapstick
operation, you don rubber gloves
still wet with Fairy foam,
and choose the right knife
for the job. You have turned
our house into a fading Caravaggio,

which the men from the Incident Room
lovingly restore. When the silvery powder
is brushed away, we can see
exactly what you fingered;
a textured print of small circles,
like suckers on an octopus tentacle,
softly formicate under our skin.

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